Accepted paper:

The 'Rules' of Riddling (on the basis of fieldwork in Newfoundland, Canada)


Jonathan Roper (University of Tartu)

Paper short abstract:

Were one to read collections of printed riddles, one might assume that they might be used anyhow and in any order. The evidence of riddling events leads rather to the view that riddling in Newfoundland has its own 'rules' which the presentation will attempt to describe.

Paper long abstract:

While there is a substantial number of collections of riddles as texts, the number of discussions of riddling as a social activity is very much smaller (some exceptions to this overall tendency include the work of Abrahams and of Haring). This paper, drawing on fieldwork undertaken in Newfoundland in the early years of this century, aims to abstract the 'rules' or etiquette governing how riddles are posed and solutions proposed in this culture, addressing such topics as turn-taking, thematic links between previous and current riddles, what constitutes an 'acceptable' wrong solution, and when in a session it is acceptable to introduce double-entendre riddles.

panel WMW17
Language, linguistics, and culture